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Data acquisition and control in particle physics and astronomy

Nixon, G.; (2000) Data acquisition and control in particle physics and astronomy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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To help understand the nature of matter and energy, Man has built sophisticated instruments with which to study the interactions of particles that have been accelerated to very high energies, creating, in microcosm, conditions thought to have existed at the time of origin of the universe (according to the big bang theory). These so-called particle colliders have been developed over a number of years to yield increasing interaction energies and energy resolution, resulting in improved particle identification. In this way, scientists have been able to detect particles produced as interaction products, leading to a 'standard model' of the structure of matter. At the same time the greatest laboratory of all, the universe itself, has been yielding ever increasing amounts of information. New telescopes such as the 'Hubble" and a new generation of 8-10 metre ground-based telescopes are already opening up new vistas of space, promising a much more detailed picture of the universe than hitherto. This thesis is about data acquisition and control in the two areas of research mentioned above. The first part deals with the design and construction of two data readout controllers for high energy physics experiments. Of these, the former was intended (and has been adopted in essence) for the data acquisition system of the ZEUS central tracking detector at DESY, Hamburg, and is based on the use of transputers for both controlling and data processing functions. The latter was developed with the much more demanding requirements of the projected Large Hadron Collider experiments in mind, and uses transputers as system controllers alongside other, more specialised, processors used for data reduction and trigger formation. The second part of the thesis concerns the use of an embedded processor in a totally different environment, namely, as the controlling element of an active polishing device intended for the production of highly aspherical optical mirrors for astronomical telescopes, The third part is also concerned with mirror production and is a design study for the upgrading of a mirror production machine to a modern specification, but where a different and complementary approach is adopted. In the Preface to this thesis a case is made advocating good engineering design in support of scientific research projects and its importance to their success. At the end of each section, a short critique is given of the engineering design and its contribution to the success, or otherwise, of each project.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Data acquisition and control in particle physics and astronomy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Pure sciences; Astronomical telescopes; Data readout controllers; Mirror production
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101349
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